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A Sad Dose of Realty Of Life after Law Enforcement, Seen too often....

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  • A Sad Dose of Realty Of Life after Law Enforcement, Seen too often....

    In the past few years I had met several super nice people or heard of some great people that were retired law enforcement that had fallen on hard times due to injuries or illnesses and pensions, savings and investments were depleted as cost of living and expenses grew with no additional help or income. Sad to say I have heard a lot more of this situation more and more through the "grapevine" but it really has not been addressed by any of the local unions or maybe people are just too embarrassed to talk about it? Or is there really just nothing that can be done and there is no help for our brothers and sisters in blue that just simply have lived beyond "life expectancy" or were under the impression that there was going to be some type of help for them when they needed it and found that to be untrue when the time came?

    I recently was speaking to a person and they were very nice and jovial and in great spirits. I had a strange type of "spidey sense" about them like I could detect something familiar about them although I had never met them before. They had told me about a disability as a "matter of fact" but not to complain and were not very descriptive about it. They had admitted they had fallen on hard times and seemed that they were not very proud of the situation they were in. I got the impression that they probably found themselves way over their head many times but found it difficult to ask for help (as probably many of us stubborn "super hero" do it all types feel we can't do, right?????? LOL) I felt bad for the person, they were very nice. I had wished that there was something I could do just as a human being to help another human being. It was not until later that I had discovered the person was once a Law Enforcement Officer. The more I thought about it, the more awful I felt. I am sure that a lot of the problems were mistakes on the persons part but it still does not take away from the fact that when you see someone in trouble, especially a fellow brother/sister in law enforcement that is a genuinely a NICE person your heart really goes out to them. I can empathize somewhat because I have experienced some hardships myself and can understand that stress and burden.

    I just feel that it isn't right.

    Thanks for letting me vent.

  • #2
    During my career and life I've known a number of people like that. Most of them took disability retirements in 1979 or 1980, Their pensions were around $730 per month, which adjusted for inflation had about $2,450 in today's buying power. Cost of living adjustments never kept up with inflation and today their pensions are about $1,500 per month, which will barely pay for hamburger helper. They are now in their 70s and we were never in Social Security, so they are in a bit of a predicament.

    But then you have to step back and take a closer look at things. Just because you are unable to continue in your profession as a cop doesn't mean you can't engage in gainful employment in another field. If anything, one's disability pension supplements that second paycheck and many retired cops come out way ahead.

    Of the "down on your luck" retirees I am reminded of, most were not victims of the system, but instead were products of their own doing. One had a case of felony mouth and because of that, was repeatedly fired from one civilian job after another in retirement. Another was a scam artist on the job and continued to be one in retirement, hence, they did not remain long in any new job. A third had taken out a disability insurance policy that paid him $500 a month for as long as he was unable to work. Rather than get a job that paid $2k to $3k per month, he elected to not work and remain in poverty so he could collect on his insurance. A fourth tried his hand unsuccessfully at being a pimp, wound up in jail and killed any further chances at a second career.

    So before you feel too sorry, look a little deeper. While its possible they truly got screwed by the system, they may be where they are because that's where they put themselves.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

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    • #3
      I think that is the problem. The mentality that we are supposed to be super hero's that should be able to survive anything without help or have prepared for the future because there is no way that any of us could have known the types of dangers to our health due to such things such as exposures that show up YEARS later or things of that nature that NO ONE could have EVER predicted. What generally was the life expectancy of most people in public safety??? The fact is that the retirees were not prepared and I still believe that today that not enough is being done to educate the newest generation.

      No matter if this person made some mistakes along the way while suffering in with a serious disability for many many years or not its just a damn shame that convicted felons have more options open to them for help then an elderly former law enforcement officer. The response just validates the problem and how truly sad it is.

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      • #4
        I agree with L-1 all the retired cops I know/knew who are/were "down on their luck" created the situation all on their own. I started planning for my retirement at age 60 thinking I would retire at 65. I got out of any debt and my residence was free and clear. My dept. did not have a mandatory retirement age and because I was in good shape I decided to work until age 70. Since retiring my take home income is just slightly higher than when I was working and I'm happy as a pig in s**t. I still worry about the clowns (affectionately) that I worked with, especially the younger one's who have not made any plans.
        Train for tomorrow, for you never know what it will bring to the fight.
        In the school of Policing, there is no graduation day.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bpd303 View Post
          I got out of any debt and my residence was free and clear.
          That is a big deal.............................I had mine ready 2 yrs before I "retired" at 55.

          Not owing anyone anything really helps ..............however my retirement check is almost exactly what I was taking home when I retired....& my part time side job along with the wife's part time jo.........well I get along quite nicely thank you.

          Around my area the "down on his luck retired cop" is pretty much a myth
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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          • #6
            I have about 23 more years till I retire, with that I will have 30 years. But I'm planning for it now. I'm looking in to business I can start and work on the side now and not worry if anything should happen to me. The guys that fall in the traps sad to say it's their fault to a point. You have to have a plan B and C. Medical retirements before retirement age don't pay chit. You have to plan.
            I'd rather be judged by 12 rather carried by 6.

            It should be noted that any and all post that are made are based on my own thought and opinions. And are not related or implied to represent the department I work for.

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            • #7
              I think what bothered me the most was that it reminded me of a very good friend of mine that became ill after retirement and went through a terrible struggle and suffered with the unforgiving cancer. My friend was a wonderful and generous person and had planned for retirement but became ill and the medications that gave the slightest bit of relief were very expensive. No one realized that the debris that they were removing and blowing through the vents of the buildings at the times would end up being a curse to most of the young people that worked in the building at that time and of course no one would ever admit it. No one ever helped my friend and just told her to go away and to keep quiet about since it was her problem. It was just disgraceful that she was treated that way. She didn't deserve to be treated that way and have her own union that collected dues from her turn their back on her and tell her to keep quiet.

              This was several years ago and her situation was not unique. Not much has changed in those years since then.

              Every situation is different I am sure. I just would hope that no one else ever gets treated like my friend did because she was a saint.


              I just also was thinking of the things that are "taboo" and the things that are acceptable. Sometimes the rules are a little warped.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post

                Around my area the "down on his luck retired cop" is pretty much a myth
                In my time, I've known 2. One was his own doing by cheating on his wife with less than year to go to retirement. She got half his pension in the divorce. The other was also the product of a late in life divorce, but that one was not his fault. His wife went nuts. She got part of his retirement in the settlement and I think he agreed to it just to get rid of her. He has, since, bounced back after landing a nice job at FedEx.

                We are pretty fortunate with our retirement system here in Wisconsin. It's well funded, is guaranteed for life, and gets decent COLA's. Most of the retired guys I know are making more in retirement than they did working full time.

                Originally posted by kontemplerande
                Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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                • #9
                  I plan at retiring from LE when I hit 25 years. For me that will mean I will retire before I am 50. I would be a fool to just sit back with my small pension at that age. I plan on starting a new career something far away from LE. Then hopefully another 15 plus years of work will contribute to a nice 2nd retirement. Then I can live pretty good by the time I am 65. I also hope to have my home well paid off by then.

                  Its all on how you plan. Unfortunately I know several cops who are terrible with money and live paycheck to paycheck without a dime in their savings account. That's their own fault and I really do not have sympathy for those guys. They put that on themselves.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                    During my career and life I've known a number of people like that. Most of them took disability retirements in 1979 or 1980, Their pensions were around $730 per month, which adjusted for inflation had about $2,450 in today's buying power. Cost of living adjustments never kept up with inflation and today their pensions are about $1,500 per month, which will barely pay for hamburger helper. They are now in their 70s and we were never in Social Security, so they are in a bit of a predicament.

                    But then you have to step back and take a closer look at things. Just because you are unable to continue in your profession as a cop doesn't mean you can't engage in gainful employment in another field. If anything, one's disability pension supplements that second paycheck and many retired cops come out way ahead.

                    Of the "down on your luck" retirees I am reminded of, most were not victims of the system, but instead were products of their own doing. One had a case of felony mouth and because of that, was repeatedly fired from one civilian job after another in retirement. Another was a scam artist on the job and continued to be one in retirement, hence, they did not remain long in any new job. A third had taken out a disability insurance policy that paid him $500 a month for as long as he was unable to work. Rather than get a job that paid $2k to $3k per month, he elected to not work and remain in poverty so he could collect on his insurance. A fourth tried his hand unsuccessfully at being a pimp, wound up in jail and killed any further chances at a second career.

                    So before you feel too sorry, look a little deeper. While its possible they truly got screwed by the system, they may be where they are because that's where they put themselves.
                    Good post. I would like to add that while 1500 isn't a lot of money, I could live on that if I had made good financial decisions in life and had always lived within my means. Of course if they made poor decisions (renting forever or taking lots of money out of their home) then probably not. If someone is making house payments or renting in their 70's they are pretty screwed. When I talk with my baby cops about financial things, I tell them the need to buy a place as soon as they can... and plan on retiring to a different (cheaper) state.

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                    • #11
                      If you retire young early 50s you are probably going to outlive your pensions buying power. I'm going to retire in my early 50s and go to a community college, far far away from California, and become a respiratory therapy tech. I can do 3 12 hour shifts a week for another 10 or 15 years while investing the majority of my pension so I won't have to eat cat food to survive in my 70/80/s.

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                      • #12
                        I always imagined doing my time, retiring and then riding off into the sunset like these old dudes in the cialis commercials. With an convertible muscle car, the open road and some cougar riding shotgun.
                        I make my living on Irish welfare.

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                        • #13
                          Having turned 50 this past year, retirement is on my mind a lot lately. I'll be eligible in 6 years, not counting accumulated sick leave in excess of 900 hours now.
                          I owe a lot on the current residence, but plan on downsizing since the kids are all out of the nest. Waiting for the new space race to (hopefully) make housing prices soar in my neck of the woods.

                          As mentioned, pensions are great, but if you live into your 70's and 80's, they don't keep up with inflation (and Tennessee has a GREAT pension system- very healthy).

                          Some thoughts myself and the wife have had has been to retire completely at 65, sell off the home, get a small apartment, and travel for several years.

                          Why wait to 65? The higher lifetime payout, especially with social security.
                          I don't know- it worries the crap out of me sometimes.

                          I may get a wild hair and do it a lot sooner- can you imagine putting off retirement, and then when you retire, with all these great plans, you develop terminal cancer or have a massive strike?

                          THAT SUCKS.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by reils49 View Post
                            I always imagined doing my time, retiring and then riding off into the sunset like these old dudes in the cialis commercials. With an convertible muscle car, the open road and some cougar riding shotgun.
                            Last edited by Baysidegal; 03-13-2017, 01:26 PM. Reason: Sounds Dangerous!

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                            • #15

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